Subject: E. Timorese refugees burn 100 houses in Indonesian W. Timor

Agence France Presse January 3, 2001

East Timorese refugees burn 100 houses in Indonesian West Timor


East Timorese refugees have attacked a resettlement camp in Indonesian-ruled West Timor and burned more than 100 houses, according to reports reaching here Wednesday.

Hundreds of refugees, many from Tuapukan camp in Kupang, the main city in West Timor, attacked Poto resettlement camp 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Kupang at the weekend, the Kompas daily newspaper said.

At least 100 houses, mostly belonging to local Indonesians, were looted and burned, the daily said.

It added that several people, including the head of the settlement's technical operations, were injured.

The attack was prompted by rumors that refugees living in Poto had been attacked by locals following a dispute during a football match, said the head of the transmigration office in Kupang, Setyo Hadi.

The Poto resettlement is one of several built by Jakarta to house East Timorese refugees wanting to stay in Indonesia.

The camps usually include housing for the local surrounding population to promote integration.

In Poto, 176 houses were built for East Timorese refugees while 124 were alloted to local families.

Tension between Indonesians and the more than 100,000 East Timorese refugees in camps across West Timor periodically erupt into mass brawls. Scores of people were injured and houses torched last year.

More than 300,000 East Timorese fled into West Timor during an anti-independence campaign of terror, violence and destruction that followed East Timor's vote to break away from Indonesia in September 1999.

Many have since been repatriated but about 100,000 are still holed up in the squalid camps in West Timor.

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